Phil Brown has warned his table-topping Lancaster City side they will be in for a different test against Kendal Town on Boxing Day.
The Dolly Blues ensured they will be this year’s Christmas No.1 in the NPL First Division North with a comfortable 2-0 win over Ossett Albion.
Next up is a trip to face their local rivals at Parkside Road, with Brown knowing his side will have to show battling qualities against the Mintcakes.
Kendal, 13th in the table, are without a win in six games but nearly came back from 3-0 down to grab a point at Glossop North End last time out, losing 3-2.
“The game on Boxing Day is going to be a bit different to anything we’ve experienced so far this season,” said the Blues boss.
“It will have that derby edge and obviously a lot of the players know each other.
“We’ve got to treat it as just another game but it will have that added ingredient.
“All season the players have never let their heads drop after going behind and they’re honest, organised and have always worked hard.
“They’re the kind of qualities they’re going to have to show. It’s going to be competitive but plenty of games have been this season.
“We’ve just go to handle the occasion, knowing that they’d like to derail us after a good start.”
Being top on December 25 means it really will be a merry Christmas at Giant Axe and, while Brown is proud of his side’s achievements, he is not resting on his laurels.
“I’m really pleased for everyone connected with the club,” he said. “To be top at Christmas is just reward for a lot of consistent performances and hard work.
“We haven’t won anything yet but we’re certainly going in the right direction. We’re not halfway through the season in terms of games but other teams are so you could say it’s the halfway point.
“Every credit to the players, they’ve shown they know how to get points – mainly wins. We’ve only drawn two which is really pleasing.”
Louis Mayers will be missing on Boxing Day due a prior commitment. Jordan Connerton is set to be assessed ahead of the trip to Parkside Road as he looks to return after minor knee surgery.
Brown also continues to look at bringing one or two new faces in to bolster his squad. He said: “I’m not going to bring people in for the sake of it, we want to sign the right players.”